Once Upon a Time

It makes sense that the written word would rekindle my relationship with two librarian sisters who inspired me when they worked at the Crestwood Library during my youth. Nancy and Sheila found my blog about a year ago. Since then, Nancy has emailed me regularly about the topics of mine that interest her. I asked Nancy to tell me about some of her favorite things. She sent several excellent blog posts for me to share with you.


Some vintage children’s stories began “once upon a time.” I guess today children would relate to “back in the day.”

Once upon a time or back in the day, I knew a child named Frank who came daily to his neighborhood library, especially during the summer months, because reading in — and ultimately winning — the Summer Reading Game was his goal. Donald Sobol’s Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective, was one of Frank’s favorite series, giving Frank enjoyment the way a good riddle entertains.

Frank never set a goal he didn’t meet or even eclipse. The basis of the game was that the winner read the most books of all the children in Crestwood, our little corner of the world.

My sister was the one closer to Frank, because I worked at another branch library. She was often his reader adviser because his brain was an absorbent sponge. But I also got to enjoy him. There was much to enjoy: Frank was a bright, gifted child with a winsome and sweet quality about him. He concentrated with his baseball cap pulled down and his glasses firmly in place. He was our “Harry Potter” before Rowling ever came along. Frank was a serious reader; absorbed; concentrated. That should come as no surprise. Today, the beautiful way he has with words; his ability to play on and with words; his vocabulary and impeccable grammar and radio diction all have their roots (like figs) in his reading.

I’m sure Frank was read to from the time he was a baby. I’m sure he saw his parents read. And that’s how you, dear blog readers, must encourage your children and grandchildren to read… even if it’s on some electronic device. But buy them a book once in a while… one they can see and smell and feel and be inspired by. No matter if it’s about fictional “Fancy Nancy” or the real Lou Gehrig. READ! And let them see YOU read. Here are some current thrillers I enjoy:

  • Chris Pavone – The Expats – can’t believe it’s his first novel – I was on the edge of my seat;
  • Martha Grimes – I adore her series of “Richard Jury” mysteries. You will always find the order in which any of these serial writers released their books in the public library’s computer or on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. However, her latest is non-fiction: Double, Double – the story of how she and her son cope in very different ways as recovering alcoholics.
  • Tana French – her four thrillers are gritty and set in Ireland, and she has the uncanny ability to write in the male voice of a police detective. Her books are not for the faint of heart.
  • Elizabeth George – her “Inspector Lynley” rises once again this coming October in Just One Evil Act.
  • Louise Penny – she makes my favorite detective, “Armand Gamache,” LIVE for me. On August 27, she releases another called How the Light Gets In. This series should be read in order; you’re in for a treat.
  • Nicci French – Blue Monday, a psychological thriller if ever there was one.

“And Frank lived happily ever after with Jere (and his figs).”

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